Lancaster Royal Grammar School
East Road

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TypeGrammar school
Day and boarding school
MottoPraesis ut prosis ("Lead in order to serve")
Religious affiliation(s)Christian (Non-denominational)
Establishedc. 1235; 788 years ago (1235)
FounderJohn Gardyner (endowment c.1472)
Department for Education URN136742 Tables
HeadmasterChris J Pyle
Staff≈120 (academic)
GenderMale (High School)
Co-ed (Sixth form)
Age11 to 18
HousesBoarding: School, Ashton, Storey, Frankland (Annexe of School)
PublicationThe Lancastrian
Former pupilsOld Lancastrians
Boat ClubLancaster Royal Grammar School Boat Club (LRGSBC)

Lancaster Royal Grammar School (LRGS) is a selective grammar school (day and boarding) for boys aged 11–18 in Lancaster, Lancashire, England. Old students belong to The Old Lancastrians. The school's sixth form opened to girls in 2019.[1] LRGS is also in the United Kingdom's thirty oldest schools.


The school was founded between 1235 and 1256, probably nearer to the former, and was later endowed as a free school by John Gardyner.[2] The first definite mention of the old grammar school is found in a deed dated 4 August 1469, when the Abbess of Syon granted to John Gardyner, of Bailrigg (near Lancaster), a lease of a water-mill on the River Lune and some land nearby for two hundred years to maintain a chaplain to celebrate worship in the Church of St. Mary, Lancaster, and to instruct boys in grammar freely, "unless perchance something shall be voluntarily offered by their friends".

In 1472, John Gardyner's will made further provisions for the endowment of the school, and also for William Baxstonden to keep the school so long as he could teach the students. In 1682, the school was rebuilt and in 1852 was removed from the old site on the slopes by the priory to the outskirts of the city, where it now stands (though the city has expanded beyond it).

This building (now known as Old School House), which stands on the north side of East Road, was designed by the local architects Sharpe and Paley at a cost of £8,000 (equivalent to £920,000 in 2021).[3][4][5] The foundation stone was laid on 5 May 1851 by James Prince Lee, the Bishop of Manchester.[6] The title "Royal" was granted by Queen Victoria in the same year.[4] This building is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building.[7]

In 1969, the school celebrated its quincentenary and was visited by Elizabeth II. In 1995, the school received a visit from the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Roger Freeman.

In 2001, to mark the 150th anniversary of becoming the Royal Grammar School, the school welcomed Anne, Princess Royal. In 2011, the school was granted academy status. On 6 November 2017, the school stated that they will be accepting sixth form girls from September 2019.[1]


Old School House.

Dates are of taking office.

Year Headmaster Year Headmaster
13th century
(1235) Thomas de Kirkham Before 1291 Thomas de Kirkham
Before 1284 William de Lancaster
14th century
c.1311 William de Lancaster Before 1338 John Banastre
15th century
1472 William Baxstonden
16th century
Before 1501 Sir Ralph Elcock Before 1553 Robert Mackerell
Before 1547 John Lunde
17th century
Before 1613 Mr Walden 1663 Edward Holden
Before 1613 Roger Brook 1677 John Barrow
1621 John Foster 1681 Thomas Lodge
1631 James Schoolcroft 1690 William Bordley 1653 Michael Altham
18th century
1708 Thomas Holme. 1765 James Watson
1725 Stephen Lewis 1794 John Widditt
1733 William Johnson
19th Century
1802 Joseph Rowley 1872 William Emmanuel Pryke
1812 John Beethom 1893 George Alfred Stocks
1850 Thomas Faulkner Lee
20th Century
1903 Herbert Armstrong Watson 1961 John Lorraine Spencer
1912 John Henry Shackleton Bailey 1972 Anthony Michael Joyce
1939 Robert Raymond Timberlake 1983 Peter John Mawby
21st Century
2001 Andrew Jarman 2012 Christopher Pyle


Lancaster Royal Grammar School - geograph

The school is regularly one of the strongest state schools both regionally and nationally. In 2022, students achieved top A and A* grades in 62.9% the A level exams that they sat. Over 75% of all results were graded A*, A or B.[8]

The 2007 Ofsted report stated that "this is an outstanding school that provides very good value for money. The overwhelming majority of parents value greatly the school and its impact on their children."[9]

In 2021, the school was inspected by Ofsted for the first time in 15 years, they found the school had “outstanding”: Behaviour and Attitudes, Personal development, Sixth Form, and Boarding provisions; as well as “good”: quality of education, and leadership and management; with an overall rating of “good”. The downgrade from “outstanding” sparked controversy in the local and national community, and was received as part of a wider wave of downgrades in the inspection status of some of the UK’s top Grammar Schools after the inspection exemption for “outstanding” schools was removed.[10]

In 2022 at GCSE 63.2% of all grades were 9-7, with nearly all pupils gaining 10 passes.[11] In 2022 the grades 9-5 in English and Mathematics was 98%, 1% above its counterpart Lancaster Girls' Grammar School.[8][12]


LRGS is a state boarding school with four boarding houses (Storey, Frankland, Ashton and School Houses) and 170 boarders.

There are two senior boarding houses (Y10-U6), School and Ashton (School being the largest and oldest of the houses overall). School House consists of approx 60 boys living in New School House (formerly Gardyner House) and approx 20 girls in Frankland House (which serves as a sub-boarding house/annexe to School house). School House is led by a Senior Housemaster, Assistant Housemaster (School House), Assistant Housemistress (Frankland House), 2 matrons for each physical house, as well as a number of resident and duty tutors.

Frankland House is a sub-boarding house/annexe administered as part of School House. The house consists of approx 20 girls in a single building on the lower site of the school, with an Assistant Housemistress resident, and 2 matrons during the day, sharing tutors with School House.

Ashton House acts as the other senior boarding house with approx 50 boys living in 2 houses, Ashton House and Ashton Annexe (both located on the upper site of the school). The house is run by a Senior Housemaster, Assistant Housemaster, 3 matrons and resident/duty tutors.

Storey House is the principal junior boarding house (Y7-Y9) with approx 40 boys. The house has a Senior Housemaster, Assistant Housemaster, 3 matrons and 7 resident/duty tutors. Boys decide at the end of Year 9 which senior house they wish to move to, transfers to the other senior house are unusual after the start of Year 10, although can occur in exceptional circumstances.

Boarding is run by an Assistant Headmaster (Assistant Head for Boarding and Co-curricular). On each weekday, in each boarding house, there is a tutor and matron on duty as well as other resident staff, including resident tutors and Sports Graduates/Coaches, who each participate in house duties.

Each senior house (and annexe) operates a prefect system, consisting of: Head of House, Deputy Head(s) of House, Heads of Years, and other specific house life prefect roles. These systems are independent of the day school prefecture, and boarding prefects are directly responsible to their Housemaster, however many boarding prefects also have day school prefect roles. Although prefects do have sanctioning/soft disciplinary powers, it is at the discretion of the individual housemaster to form and maintain a conduct system and decide the roles prefects play.

The majority of boarders come from the northwest of England; others come from across the UK and overseas. Ofsted inspectors found boarding to be Outstanding in all categories in 2013.[13]


The school offers a wide range of sporting activities to the students throughout their school careers including tennis, sailing, swimming, rowing, cross country running etc. but remains a bastion of rugby union. Achievement in this code is generally accorded more prominence in school life than other activities but the school has achieved more notable success in rowing and cross country running, especially when their far lower budgets are taken into account. Nonetheless, the school has produced some notable figures in rugby union such as the former England and Bath coach Brian Ashton, former captain of Norway Erik Lund and his brother the England international Magnus Lund.

Former pupils have achieved Olympic success. Jason Queally, took track cycling gold in the 1 km time trial at the 2000 Summer Olympics and Scott Durant won gold with the British Men's Eight in the 2016 Summer Olympics (see Boat Club).

In 2011, the LRGS lst XI won the Local Football Cup, beating Morecambe High School 1–0 at the Globe Arena.

In 2014, the LRGS 1st XI cricket team became the first in the school’s history to win the RGS Festival. The trophy was contested in Newcastle over a week of fixtures, and LRGS finished without losing a game in the tournament.

In 2015 the U13s won the Lancashire Cup Final against Audenshaw 20–5.

In 2012, the LRGS 1st XV reached the last 8 of the Rosslyn Park National 7s tournament and the U16s reached the last 32.

In 2010, the 1st XV, won the Lancashire Cup Final, and became champions in a match against Merchant Taylor's Crosby. This achievement was followed by the U14s and the U15s who were victorious in finals against Merchant Taylor's Crosby and Manchester Grammar School, respectively.

In 2009, the U13s and U14s reached the finals of the Lancashire Cup, however both lost narrowly against Manchester Grammar School. In the 2008/2009 season, LRGS won the Lancashire schools cup in the U18s and the U13s as well as winning the Floodlit cup for Lancashire and Cheshire in the U16s. They also set a new record with four teams reaching the county finals. While, in 2007/2008 season, LRGS won the Lancashire Cup in the U15 and U16 age groups.

In recent years the school has enjoyed an improved reputation in cricket with recent highlights including the school's 1st XI Cricket team's narrow defeat in the Sir Garfield Sobers Tournament at The Kensington Oval Barbados in July 2011. The school achieved a victory over Charterhouse School in the final of the Lord's Taverners Cricketer Colts Trophy for Schools in 1999,[14] and enjoyed a run to the semi-final of the Daily Mail U18 Cup in 2004.[15]

In 2010, LRGS became the U19 and U16 district champions for table tennis.

The Boat Club

Lancaster Royal Grammar School Boat Club was founded in 1948.[16] They were tenants of Lancaster John O' Gaunt Rowing Club from 1985 to 2011.[17] In 2011 the Boat Club relocated to Halton Army Training Camp.

The boat club had 15 years of national success under Tim Lucas achieving medal success in either the Schools' Head of the River Race, The National Schools Regatta or the National Rowing Championships for ten consecutive years from 1992 to 2002.[17] The club also made at least the final of a national event from 1992 to 2006. The club has had much international success with members of the boat club rowing at a national level, including the Munich International Regatta in 2006 and the Coupe de la Jeunesse in 2006.[18] His successor Peter Jago coached OL Scott Durant[19] who was member of the Great Britain Eight that won gold in the 2016 Olympic Summer Games. Scott started rowing at Lancaster Royal Grammar School aged 15 with his twin brother Mason.

In 2015, Storm Desmond devastated the boathouse, destroying many boats from the fleet. However, the club has since obtained a new fleet of Kanghua boats and a larger boathouse.

Cross country club

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Although the school's main sports during the summer and winter are cricket and rugby respectively, in recent years, it is the school's cross country squad that has achieved the most recognition nationally. The school's rise to prominence began in the late 2000s, with several LRGS athletes being chosen to represent Lancashire at the English Schools’ Cross Country. In 2009 the school had 6 County runners. In 2010 LRGS won the Northern School Cross Country Championships for the first time, and repeated this feat in 2011 and 2012. The school also won the Stonyhurst Invitation Race in 2011 and 2012, recorded a 5th-place finish in the National Schools Cross Country Relays in 2011, and a 3rd-place finish in the Intermediate Boys English Schools Cross Country Cup in the same year. The club have been the National Schools Senior Fell Running Champions from 2011, with several National medalists.

Combined Cadet Force

The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) at LRGS comprises Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force sections. Pupils in year nine and above are allowed to join. It parades on Tuesday afternoons after school and is voluntary. All sections participate in camps throughout the year, including an annual summer camp during the summer holidays, and an Easter camp involving adventurous training in which all three sections can participate. The Contingent, as of 2019 maintains around 200 members, and is led by a Cadet RSM, which can be drawn from any section (though typically of the Army).

The school has had its own CCF since 1914, then known as the Officer Training Corps. Its roots, however, can be traced back further still, as there are "references to the existence at Lancaster of a Cadet Volunteer Battalion in the early nineteenth century".[20] and in 1861, the seventy-strong Battalion was presented with a silver bugle "by Mrs Lee, wife of the Headmaster".[20]

The Royal Navy Section consists of around 35 cadets, including girls from Lancaster Girls' Grammar School, who have been participating since September 2012. The main activities offered are water-based, and the section sails on Marine Lake, Southport. Cadets in the Navy section also attend national camps and courses run by HQ CCF RN, on which cadets can gain nationally recognised qualifications in topics from power boating to first aid.[21]

The Army Section is approximately 110 students strong. Since September 2019, girls have been able to join the army section. They participate in camps throughout the year including an annual camp that lasts over a week, and an Easter Camp where they take part in adventurous training activities, a range day where the cadets fire the L98-A2 Cadet GP Rifle, a field day where the cadets deploy on Manoeuvers for 24hours equipped with blank rounds and a night navigation exercise named Operation Night Owl. Annual Camp 2007 was at a CCF Central Camp at Wathgill, in North Yorkshire. Senior Cadets of the army section are eligible to participate in the Senior Cadet Instructor Course (SCIC) and the Master Cadet Course.

The Royal Air Force section is the second most popular section with about 85 cadets, who receive flying lessons in the Grob Tutor T.1 aircraft and gliding lessons in the Grob Vigilant G 109 glider. Due to Covid-19, the RAF section has had limited opportunities to fly and have not done so as a section since the pandemic. The RAF section is the first and only section of the Contingent to have been led by a female cadet, Cadet Warrant Officer.[citation needed]

The Contingent holds an annual prize-giving parade, at which awards are given by the Contingent Commander, Section Commanders and distinguished guests to Cadets who have performed at the highest standards.[citation needed]

All three sections of the CCF learn how to use the L98-A2 Cadet GP Rifle. Various shooting activities take place for all three sections and new recruits in the Army section are tested on the GP Rifle during Easter at Sealand Ranges.[citation needed]

Notable former pupils

This article's list of alumni may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability policy. Please improve this article by removing names that do not have independent reliable sources showing they merit inclusion in this article AND are alumni, or by incorporating the relevant publications into the body of the article through appropriate citations. (October 2020)

See also: Category:People educated at Lancaster Royal Grammar School

Former pupils are known as "Old Lancastrians" and there are several branches of the club in the UK and worldwide. Notable Old Lancastrians include:

See also


  1. ^ a b "Sixth Form will open for girls - LRGS". Archived from the original on 16 December 2017. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  2. ^ A.L. Murray. The Royal Grammar School Lancaster. A History. Heffer 1951.
  3. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  4. ^ a b Hartwell, Clare; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2009) [1969], Lancashire: North, The Buildings of England, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, pp. 410–411, ISBN 978-0-300-12667-9
  5. ^ Brandwood, Geoff; Austin, Tim; Hughes, John; Price, James (2012), The Architecture of Sharpe, Paley and Austin, Swindon: English Heritage, pp. 215–216, ISBN 978-1-84802-049-8
  6. ^ Hughes, John M. (2010), Edmund Sharpe: Man of Lancaster, John M. Hughes, p. 240
  7. ^ Historic England. "Royal Grammar School (Old School), Lancaster (1194925)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Lancaster Royal Grammar School - GOV.UK". 20 October 2021.
  9. ^[bare URL PDF]
  10. ^ Clarence-Smith, Louisa (22 November 2022). "The full list of outstanding schools downgraded by Ofsted". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 26 February 2023.
  11. ^ "Lancaster Royal Grammar School Academic Results".
  12. ^ "Lancaster Girls' Grammar School - Find school and college performance data in England - GOV.UK". Find school and college performance data in England. Retrieved 26 February 2023.
  13. ^ "LRGS boarding is outstanding". Boarding Schools Association. 14 June 2013. Archived from the original on 9 March 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  14. ^ "The Lords Taverners, Cricket's Official Charity, UK". Archived from the original on 16 April 2007.
  15. ^ "Lancaster Royal Grammar School | Boys' Grammar | State Boarding". LRGS. Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  16. ^ British Rowing Almanack and ARA Year Book 2003. Hammersmith, London: The Amateur Rowing Association. 2003. p. 369. ISBN 978-0-7146-5251-1.
  17. ^ a b Sullivan, Steven. "History of Lancaster John O' Gaunt Rowing Club". Lancaster John O'Gaunt Rowing Club website. Archived from the original on 3 May 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  18. ^ Sullivan, Steven. "Lancaster John O' Gaunt Rowing Club – The 2000s". Lancaster John O'Gaunt Rowing Club website. Archived from the original on 3 May 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2010.
  19. ^ "Scott Durant, OL, and Olympian rower - LRGS". Archived from the original on 18 August 2016. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  20. ^ a b Fidler, J., Lancaster Royal Grammar School: A History of the OTC & CCF. York: G. H. Smith and Son, 2001. p. 1 ISBN 0-904775-27-5.
  21. ^ Archived 23 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine HQ CCF RN website. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  22. ^ Hutton, Matthew. "Priest Hutton". Mourholme Local History Society. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  23. ^ Christopher, Urswick. "Christopher Urswick". Shakespeare and History. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  24. ^ Marr, John Edward (1934). "John Edward Marr, 1857-1933". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society. 1 (3): 250–257. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1934.0009.
  25. ^ Seward, Sir Albert. "Sir Albert Seward: Lettersand notes". Archives Hub. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  26. ^ John, Wrathall. "Biography of J.J Wrathall". J.J Wrathall. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  27. ^ Pidd, Helen (17 March 2017). "Jailed fell runner thought UK Athletics was 'trying to kill her'". The Guardian.
  28. ^ Houterman, J.N. "Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939-1945 -- L". Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2017.

54°02′49″N 2°47′21″W / 54.04694°N 2.78917°W / 54.04694; -2.78917